Where: Midtown, New York City Style: Russian Wonderland Tea Selection: 6 bagged teas by Harney & Sons Teatimes: Daily 2-4:30 Reservations: 24-hour notice; *For parties of 7 or more, 48-hour notice with a non-refundable $50 per-person deposit Contact:Online or 212-581-7100 Cost: $115 Royal Afternoon Tea with Champagne; $90 Royal Afternoon Tea; $35 Children’s Tea Destination Tea Tips: Dress is business casual and bring cash for tips if you plan to check a coat.
Destination Tea Notes: By 1927 — when members of the Russian Imperial Ballet founded the Russian Tea Room (RTR) — the tea room craze was in full swing in Manhattan, home to hundreds of tea rooms by the late ’20s. One step inside the Russian Tea Room explains instantly how it has outlasted many of its contemporaries and held its iconic status well into the 21st century. If your first glimpse of the sumptuously saturated greens, reds and curling booths of the main dining room does not sufficiently impress you, the Bear Lounge where afternoon tea is served should do the trick. You are in a fairyland with colored mirrors, a golden tree that grows glowing glass eggs and a circus bear who is more than what he seems, slowly twirling as he juggles. While we enjoyed the fare, which features some Russian specialties, the true star of this experience is the tea room itself.
Compared to other tea rooms previously reviewed here at DT, the Russian Tea Room’s tea sandwiches appear to be more bread than the wonderfully described fillings. I would expect more generous portions at such a historic establishment, especially at that price point.
Certainly the sandwich selection was generous, which we could have appreciated better with a more equitable filling-to-bread ratio. Good to hear from you as always, Marie!